Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The feeling of getting old

You probably wouldn't get the feeling behind this post unless you have a firsthand experience.  Last week, I happened to visit the NIT Calicut campus for some work.  The college was bathed in a festive mood with students celebrating their annual fest, Tathva.

Two young voices sitting on the registration desk announcing timings and registration details for about-to-start events sounded fresh on the microphone.  Teens frantically pacing all around between different makeshift stalls were effervescent in their colourful tees and shredded style jeans.  Those unconcerned couples were spotted walking carelessly chewing peanuts or licking icecreams.  Moving a bit farther, there was a small gathering cheering a bunch of guys dancing on a small stage probably made for impromptu competitions.  The onstage mood seemed to reverberate across the spectators - jubilant and ecstatic, clapping noisily, everyone seemed to be engrossed with the display of energy, youth, excitement, life!

And there I was, standing a couple of yards away across the road with thoughts moving to and fro my mind like those students cycling past their Hero and Avon cycles on the campus' main road.  Nostalgic reflections of college days were the first passers by - the festive spirit of Srijan at ISM bounced back with all its fervor - what energy we had to roam around and shout and at least witness everything that used to happen over the three days!  There used to be life - amidst canteen and hostel backyard chats, amidst elocutions and solos and JAMs, amidst bonhomie of the entire campus at the upperground, amidst midnight trips to GT Road's Khalsa or to Ram Charitra Singh's tea stall on Dhanbad station.  And it's hardly the same now - the euphoria has been waning over the years.

To wash the thoughts all away, I went for lunch at the good old Lovely Dhaba just outside the NIT campus.  It didn't prove much of a respite.  The place was thronged with even more students - small groups of teenage boys and girls chatting incessantly on topics which I feel I have come a long way from.  You yourself don't realise when you changed, or got so much subdued with the waves of time ironing out many of those bubbles of your personality.  You don't realise, or probably don't want to accept, the difference which time brought into you with those few months of job and higher studies interspersed between college life and present.  And pretty much ironically, its time which throws you back sometimes to ensure you understand the reality, that things do change.  It's not a good feeling though, to know that you have aged.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Last Lear

"From the time you wear your costume till you take it off, its one single shot."

>>You know what makes an actor?  




>>The desire to perform.  Nothing else matters.  The first day you walked the ramp it was difficult for you.  But actually its the first day that you performed also.

Simple facts of life, woven marvellously around actors and stage.  Anjana Basu and Rituparno Ghosh writing those dialogues effortlessly pass on the innate rationale - the day 'desire' to live differently and the passion to perform ends, that's the day of being transformed into the lesser mortal.  And the use of actors and stage, well, the movie talks all about Shakespeare: "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I love train travels. Flimsy excuses like paucity of time don't let me enjoy a lot of them these days, but a few interspersed ones are true times of leisure. Tucked up in a blanket, eating chewing and reading for hours and hours is a well deserved reward after a few months of seemingly busy life.

Finished this off in one go. Probably the second book ever which I finished in one sitting. I wanted to read this leisurely – savoring all words and not losing thoughts and connections by breaking off in between – wanted to do it for all the recommendations about it. And it was worth it. Few stories are just narratives, few can raise a lump to your throat, and to some particular tit-bit of all of them, you can always relate your own life.

Khaled Hosseini is probably the best story-teller, and doesn't require my humble appreciation. If his last book had the potential to move you deeply, this second one goes one step beyond just watering your eyes. A fable of war-torn lives interwoven with deepest of human emotions and love, it portrays the entire history of Afghanistan. With the book, one can walk the streets of Kabul, Herat, even the fictitious Gul Daman, and witness the destruction of the country and its rich heritage year after year under different regimes, none of them really transforming the lives of people, or their deaths.

Hosseini vividly describes the state of women in Afghanistan, the perpetual grief and fear under which human lives keep on trudging – defiant against all odds. And amidst the description of these tangibles, he inserts his infallible knack – putting into words what human hearts feel. He narrates the separation of friends and of mothers and daughters and of lovers, the undying love of two children and adults, the grief of leaving one's homeland. Love is the prevalent theme of the book, and perfectly depicted, it does hurt.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Email Forwards

Forwarded mails are an interesting phenomena I've always been intrigued with. You receive those long emails, chained ones, wherein you can see the exact trail of how many IT industry offices the mail has traveled through before reaching you! They are great in the sense that you receive them from the most oblivious of people. One fine day, you check your mails, and there is a forward (rather a Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: Fwd:) from someone you least expected would drop you a message. A good thing, I must say, to at least maintain the illusion of keeping in touch in this everyone-is-connected-and-no-one-is-in-touch world.

And the messages themselves are quite interesting ones! One of them actually mentioned why the guy sending me is a great friend of mine because he at least bothered to send me a forward when he didn't have time to write a personalized message, while making me realize with those funny cartoons inserted in between, how emotionless I'm to lose contact. Partially true, I must agree. Majority of others I receive are photographs from here and there, sometimes quite funny ones, sometimes just beautiful. The most hated ones are those which claim to bring good luck if I forward them in turn to ten or twenty more, and to bring extremely harsh luck if I don't. Decent ones are those which have a collection of quotes, or anecdotes, or bearable jokes. Here's one of them which came to me about twenty one rules in life:

Rule 1:
Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

Rule 2:
Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

Rule 3:
Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

Rule 4:
When you say, 'I love you', mean it.

Rule 5:
When you say, 'I'm sorry', look the person in the eye.

Rule 6:
Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

Rule 7:
Believe in love at first sight.

Rule 8:
Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

Rule 9:
Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

Rule 10:
In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

Rule 11:
Don't judge people by their relatives.

Rule 12:
Talk slowly but think quickly.

Rule 13:
When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, 'Why do you want to know?'

Rule 14:
Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

Rule 15:
Say 'bless you' when you hear someone sneeze.

Rule 16:
When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

Rule 17:
Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

Rule 18:
Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

Rule 19:
When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

Rule 20:
Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

Rule 21:
Spend some time alone.

Nice ones, eh? ;)

Friday, July 25, 2008

A day perfectly spent!

2:30 AM - Start getting stoned! You lose count of time. Forget count. Its like there was / is no time. Its eternity. You 'observe' yourself. You can feel your breath. You can feel your beats. You can feel your own temperature. You can feel yourself moving. You try to sleep. You 'revolve'. You drive, you fly, you try to control yourself. Its madness! Just perfect! You 'know' you are experiencing madness. Your brain is 'thinking' that it can't think. Perfect!

Sleep. Was it, wasn't it. You don't care. You were traveling in some other world. Probably time travel. And its suddenly the perfect morning, but its the same day. You don't remember when you went to sleep, if at all. You don't care either.

10:30 AM - You're lazy to get out. To do anything. The 'revolving sensation' of the earlier part of the day seems to have ended, but some part of you wants to retain it. Illusions are always good, eh! You want the same space back. You want to hold on to that receding madness. That was, probably, at all levels, much better than the reality. The virtual truth, which dared to counteract the real truth for those few hours of bliss, and did that successfully as well. You want to hold on to that virtuality. And in between, you get on with tit-bits of something called a movie.

And you are hungry, you are human and have humane limitations. Its raining. How about a drive?

12:30 PM - Winds! Wet winds gushing through your hair, cold breeze slicing through the chest like razor sharp ice. You don't care. You persist. You are drenched to the last bit. And its like you wanted this since you don't know when! Your every bit wants to get drenched in this moment of requiem. And yet again, you don't care! Its like this is the very moment, passing on with this blazing speed of the wheels, which you know is your redemption.

05:00 PM - Winds again! And madness again! How about another movie being caught drenching in the rain? And you set out! Wheels rotating, somewhat like you yourself were doing early in the morning! You notice something though. That scent on your skin left by the trial at that Oodh shop guy. It doesn't wash off with rain. Movie: comes and goes, who cares? You care about the sea blazing past you on way to Sea Queen. The place is still the same. And alcohol too. And you again notice, that scent on your skin at the back of the palm is still there!

11:30 PM - Blowin' in the wind! Again and again! The return drive with modest rains, probably looking with awe and showering itself affectionately. You are loving the trance! And probably that's the reason you are driving extra safely. You don't have any hurry to return on time to attend that birthday. Half of the things have ceased to matter. Including thoughts.

01:00 AM - Trance! Psychedelic Trance! Thanks to my neighbour for it. A random visualization and trance music at high volume. Its taking me to some other world. Time travel probably. Yet again. I'm running from reality. Yet again!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Biography of the helmet

It was a regular busy evening in the month of August of the year 2006. The city of Bangalore, with its ever snarling traffic and forever romantic weather was witnessing the daily tantrums of riders on its busy J.C. Road. Air seemed to be still, and so did the tiny dust particles laden all over it, and so did the vehicles strewn all across the width of the street.

The moist, stale smell of thermocols and cartons hit the nostrils of the young man still exuberating with the heart-thumps caused by riding a new motorbike as soon as he entered the helmet shop with the almost-faded signboard at the junction. In a perfectly styled manoeuvre, he had just finished twisting the keys of his new shining black bike bought recently through an EMI scheme under faint hopes that his parents would help him out paying the monthly nuisance. The bike, being new, and as happens with all new relationships in the life of a guy, had suddenly seemed to him as his better three-fourth, as if this is 'the one' he had been waiting for all those years, the one for whom there are no comparisons, and nothing better can ever happen in his life again - finally in love! Anything inferior for her would have been a contempt to him. The guy was KV, and the bike was the KA-51J-4725 Bajaj Pulsar.

He enquired for the best available helmets in the shop. Various helmets in various colours and shapes and tattoos on their backs screened past his inquisitive eyes, but none seemed fit for the beauty standing outside in that magnificent, side-stand pose. He was looking for something just perfect! After all, for every future trip with her, this particular helmet would ensure he didn't get too uncomfortable or fumble while communicating.

And then, suddenly, as if the destiny itself had bestowed unto him, he spotted it! A shining black "Volga, Born to Guard, The Life Partner of your Choice on the roads", with white flames painted on its sides - the helmet was smiling at him, and he knew at first sight that he couldn't get anything better as a companion on all his future rides with 'her'. The deal was struck! And hence started his long-term commitment to both the helmet and the beauty waiting outside.

The helmet, in the initial days, tried to compete with him. There were times when he forgot to take the helmet along on voyages with her, and the helmet, through some black magic in-sync with its colour, ensured that he was caught on one traffic signal or the other by a paunchy policeman on the charge of riding the magnificent beauty in a one-eighth naked state (read, without the helmet).

The situation improved fast as both discovered each other as complementary - none could exist without the other when it came to riding the beauty, and both developed some sort of a tacit agreement to the fact. The first 'woman' to share the space with him on the bike was a colleague from office. She was kind-of good looking, and the helmet ensured that the sacred act of looking at her in the rear-view mirrors was perfectly shielded by its black visors. It was a trade-off, the woman's 'colour' was dimmed by the tinge of the glass, however, the 'form' was up for however minute observations without even being noticed. The helmet, in return, was given a chance to sit in the woman's lap with some pretext of why he didn't want to wear it.

The helmet never complained. Once when he was slightly drunk on a Saturday morning (rather a long Friday evening), and he decided to undertake an 'extra-long' night ride with her all the way from Bangalore to Mysore at 2:30 am, the helmet was terrified at first, but never resisted. Its visors had to undergo the terror of being the graveyard of numerous white-green flies all along the way, sticking their juices and lifeless bodies on it. At the end, he didn't even bother to clean it and the black visor lost its sheen and true colour amongst spots of all possible colours of the spectrum. At another instance, the helmet was tucked at the back of the bike, its body handcuffed with a helmet lock, and was left to bang its head continuously on the rear number plate. The silly reason was, he wanted to feel his adrenaline by riding her amidst heavy rains, but wanted to retain the helmet for safety purposes at traffic signals. For him, it was the joy of feeling the heavy droplets falling on his body with largely unbuttoned shirt and the excitement of wet winds gushing in his hairs, while for the helmet, it was the torture of being inundated with water with scant care to the soft foam inside. At other instances, the helmet even had to undergo the difficulties of adjusting to the bad breaths of his numerous friends borrowing it, many a times, the effect accentuated by a slight excess of alcohol in their throats. The helmet, however, never complained.

The helmet always remained loyal. When he moved out of Bangalore, the helmet ensured that in spite of all weight considerations, it was included in the final checklist of the Calicut consignment. It maintained its undying respect for 'him and her', even though, as time had progressed, he had kept on getting better, and the beauty had kept on getting worse with marks of age. His love for her, as happens with all old relationships in the life of a guy, had already started getting past the peak of the 'normal curve' of attraction. The helmet, still, remained a loyal companion for all their wild voyages exploring Kerala.

One fateful day, and he didn't even care to remember the date or the person involved, the helmet was suddenly gone out of his life! He didn't remember whether he was drunk and asleep, or simply asleep, or busy-with-nothing in his hostel room, when someone borrowed it, and because he never really cared for the loyal helmet, he didn't care to ask it back as well. And when things are gone, as happens with all lost relationships in the life of a guy, he started feeling the pinch. He had to borrow a helmet from someone every time he wished a ride on her, and he craved for his lost companion more than ever. He made a tacit resolve that he would clean the visor and its body with a soft damp cloth if ever he got it back. And he has been waiting in grief ever since.

Friday, July 04, 2008

A different route

In 1998, an album 'Boondein' debuted at #1 and scorched the charts with its fresh, evocative soundscapes, including the underwater video 'Dooba Dooba'. ‘Boondein’ won rave reviews for its creative song-writing in Hindi, English and Pahadi. The band behind the album was Silk Route, which is now formally over, and not doing any more recordings, concerts or public appearances.

Was randomly scourging through my collection today and happened to hit this song from the album:

गँगा नहा ले चाहे, तिलक लगा ले
किस्मत का लिखा हुआ, टले ना टाले

वो है खिलाड़ी, तू है खिलौना
किस्मत का लेखा, होनी का होना

पूजा करवा ले चाहे, हवन करवा ले
किस्मत का लिखा हुआ, टले ना टाले

The rendition is simply phenomenal! They have truly justified the simplicity and bluntness of this small, powerful lyrics with the most poignant music. The track flows smoothly like those numbers from Raincoat (2004), but is far more touching. Next time, I'd top it up with 3 pegs, no lights in the room, and "Battery: Randomization" visualization in Windows Media Player! I'm sure it has the capacity to throw any soul into the most efficient 'search' mode.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Batch: Welcome and more

PGP12 is here. And here in 'large' numbers. Welcome to K fachhon.

Yeah, it is a dry welcome, for obvious reasons, because I can't find any enthusiasm to say, "yeah, aao fachhon, waah, we are proud to have amongst us a bunch of achievers and mature individuals who have the drive to..." blah blah... Crap. You belied all our 'hopes'! You suck! You know what, your seniors (better start calling them 'sirs' and 'mams' from today) were counting days by measuring solar displacement across the horizon through a sophisticated telescope, in the meantime, adjusting their angles of repose with those little-little filtered 'news' bits coming in from Sangams or that Yahoogroup (where you spammed like shit). You think I'm talking in Mayan language? Naah, I'm that frank blunt sadistic prick who is asking you directly - "Where the hell did all the chicks go??" :x You bunch of frustu despo voracious (wo)man-eaters, what happened to those eenaa-meenaa-deekaas about whom we used to hear stories from one Sangam or the other? Earth ate them or the sky? You suck. Big time. Dare come to me and say "don't worry (sir), PGP11 girls are babes" (I know your name dude, don't smile by reading this, I would remember you till I'm at campus).

And yes, who gave you the permission to start off with your DCPs (better go and find out what that means rather than protruding your jaw like an idiot towards your monitor, you moron) in that guest lecture? Do you even know what guest lectures are supposed to mean? Its meant to be a practice torture-session for all you first year idiots so that you are ready for the atrocities which would be inflicted unto each one of you in that air-conditioned auditorium when we (tumhaare baap) would be giving our presentations and lectures (and you won't get even a susu break, and the air-conditioner would make you freeze to death, together with that perpetual chill down your spine to accelerate your nervous breakdown). And you, in addition to those DCPs, were taking notes? Ever heard about cutting trees and ecosystem and paper conservation or any such shit? Came through CAT or COW? You suck.

And who are those guys who keep on troubling with their cellphone connections, and bank loans, and laptops, and shirts, and pants and trousers and... What the fuzz? Have we opened up an absolutely free settle-your-family consultancy at campus? If you signed your CAT forms in ink (and not a left thumb impression), and you can read this article rather than being narrated by your equally stupid roommate, better go and find out where to get your stuff. We are busy. We don't have time for stupid jerks like you who don't know where to buy a bucket to wash your nappies. And listen, the next time I find you in the loo when its my time to relieve, you would be made to stand and run, halfway through your nasty act. Better get up early in the morning and get your leeches off. Get a copy of my class schedule from the CC and don't dare to venture into the bathroom area 30 minutes prior to all my classes.

And because you are large in numbers (guess the admissions office got confused with the misnomer CAT, they thought its an exam for animals, and they filled you like rats to be eaten by cats in our pristine, 230 acres, luxury, resort-like campus and you started to dig ratholes everywhere), better note this for your mess and NC. Rule one, each one of you, eat your paunches full within 45 minutes of mess opening time during all meals, and get out of the mess area before making everyone (tumhaare baap) smell your belches and farts. And rule two, NC is not for you. Night Canteen, as long as its functioning in the night, is for us. If you want to use NC, better use it during daytimes with a hard-stop limit of 7 pm. I don't want Salman or Ranjeet to delay my parathas because a bunch of morons are asking him "Canteen mein kya-kya milta hai?" Yahaan rat-food nahin milta. Fuzz off. You suck.

And listen. Hello. Who gave you the permission to even dare think that the tasks given to you might be just for fun? Its not funny. Next time when your faculty gives you a task, ask him on his face, "Sir, this assignment wasn't sent through an IP address which... blah blah blah". You bloody IT engineers. Grow up. Oh, my bad. You can't. So, better stay obedient even after your parents (two thirds of you morons anyway needed mummy-papa so that they can help you get an admission) go back home happily in the illusion that their wards would soon be polished into global-decision makers who would move and shake the world. In the meantime, you chickens would still suck for your entire stay at campus.

Ok whatever. Last point, I AM NOT RUNNING A CHARITY AND GIVING MY LAPTOP FOR YOUR ASSIGNMENTS. Don't even venture on my floor. Fuzz off. You suck.

Once again, welcome to IIMK :|

Monday, May 05, 2008

बेशर्म लौ

Having problems viewing the text below? Click here for help.

मोमबत्ती की रौशनी से नहायी खाने की मेज़ पर
तुम्हारे होने भर से सबकुछ जीवन्त सा था
धड़कनों की टाप बढ़ाता रात का वो किस्सा
कुछेक क्षणों में सिमटते हुए अनन्त सा था

बाती छोड़ती हुई सी मोमबत्ती की बेशर्म लौ
तुम्हारी आँखों में ही टिमटिमाती थी
गालों पर बस हल्की सी लालिमा जताने को
रौशनी स्वयँ सकुचाती थी

पानी की खुशकिस्मत सी वो पतली परत
तुम्हारे होठों पर ही ठहर जाती थी
बेशर्म लौ इठलाती सी रहती उनपर
बाती जल-जल कर बस पछताती थी

कानों में मचलते हुये दो छोटे झुमके
अपनी अनवरत सी तड़प की कहानी बतलाते थे
बीच-बीच में छिटकती बेशर्म लौ से लड़ने को
निरीह से इधर-उधर कसमसाते थे

शीशे के गिलास में छलकता सजीव सा पानी
बेशर्म लौ की लालिमा में शर्माता था
छोटे घूँटों के बहाने होठों से लगकर शीशा
हर बार बस चकनाचूर हो कर रह जाता था

शरारती आँखों पर सवार दो काली भौँहें ही
बला सी तनकर बेशर्म लौ को ललकार पाईं
सब कुछ देख मुस्कुराती स्पष्ट सी तुम्हारी रूपरेखा
जाने कब हृदय को किस नगर छोड़ आईं!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Convexity Theory of Salaries

I don’t think I would be surprised if someone comes up to me and throws a statistic which says that 74% of the productive time of a current generation salaried employee working in one of the Tier 1 cities is spent in mulling over his / her current salary package, and over future avenues of getting an incremental benefit in the same.

I put some more thought into the phenomenon, and came up with my “Convexity Theory of Salaries”. Apparently simple, the theory propounds my idea of a mutually convex satisfaction and effort curves with incremental salaries. The following figure explains the theory in some detail:

Any Tier 1 city employee can be classified into one of the three zones at various stages of his / her life. Different zones have been segregated based on salary ranges, and a creature falling in one zone has characteristics totally distinct from creatures in other zones. In addition, a creature in a lower zone would almost always strive / crib to jump to a higher one.

ZONE 1 – The Laggard Worker

Zone One incumbents spend a large chunk of their time in office. Their work includes mundane jobs, generally of a repetitive nature. They might attend late night calls (support work), verify and document processes (Ctrl + C/V work), spend time on Orkut, YouTube, Monster and Naukri, ensure that the coffee vending machines and smoking zones in the office reach their optimum utilization, and tweak something or the other in their CVs for a few minutes as a daily routine. They are good at narrating stories in their families about how their work at an MNC keeps them busy for more than 12 hours a day but because of a centrally air-conditioned office building and a personalized cubicle, at least the job is satisfactory. However, they are of the most unsatisfactory lot and are proud contributors to the largest bulk of CV movements across job consultancies in various cities. They spend at least one weekend per month participating in recruitment processes for jobs which might elevate them to Zone Two.

ZONE 2 – The Aspirant

Zone Two incumbents are of the ambitious lot. Their office timings become a comfortable 9 to 6 and their work generally involves low-value-add-to-the-company endeavors. They might write codes for small fragments of larger applications, search the net working as analysts sniffing for data, appear for certifications, or jugaado for onsite opportunities. A few towards the right (light green) portion of this zone might actually work on something which might positively contribute to company’s bottom-line and are the cause of envy for their peers on the last day of each month. With their sufficient income levels, Zone Two’ers can afford 2-BHK flats on a twin-sharing basis rather than those Paying Guest (PG) arrangements of Zone One mortals. They even pay the EMIs of their two-wheelers from their own salaries and are the largest contributors to the Friday night crowd at city pubs and restaurants. Some of them start fitness routines and Yoga for the purpose of telling about the same to office colleagues. Their CVs are normally stagnated and a majority of them start attending classes for management entrance examinations on weekends. Even though they are at the vertex of the satisfaction convex, their aspirations keep them cribbing for a slot in Zone Three without anticipating the disaster.

ZONE 3 – The Fallbacks

Zone Three incumbents are classic portrayals of grandma’s greed-is-a-dangerous-evil. They are the fallen back Zone Two’ers normally with a one or two year management education interspersed in between. They spend the maximum time in office working upon presentations which would eventually attract partners’ and clients’ brickbats, excel maintenance for resource allocation, team meetings etc. Their discussion topics amongst office colleagues witness a paradigm shift from Zone Two’ers talks about girls, boss-cribbings, PVR movies and new cellphones in the market to Zone Three thoughts on entrepreneurship and related gassings, plans for apartment purchases, investments etc. Their Orkut albums are replete with their international stints and other sweet memories of Zone Two days and usually a with-my-team snap from their first few days at Zone Three tragedy. Their working hours, stretching to the better portion of twenty four, put them towards the tail end of the satisfaction convex into a situation which their last-day of the month creditings in the bank cannot compensate. It’s already too late for them to get back to the previous two zones and quite a few of them, feeling retired towards their middle age itself, start watching fatso babas on dhaarmik TV channels giving gyaan about life.

Zone Two, according to the Convexity Theory is the Utopia of human existence. It does not take much effort for an average employee to enter this zone and enjoy weekend trips and Friday dinners. A slightly focused strategy can even place most of them towards the right end of this zone which offers comfortable salaries coupled with a relaxed lifestyle. However, the mere attraction to cross the boundary proves lethal.

“Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side.” Think before you play ping-pong within these zones.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008



Ended the first year of my Post Graduate Programme in Management. Won’t say that time passed away in a jiffy – it didn’t! Courses, with however little to learn from; projects, with however worthless endeavors; term papers, with however smart Googling; and exams, with however sleepless weeks – time crept slowly. Students’ Council work was a tough fun; joining the Council after two terms of a somewhat chill life at IIMK wasn’t an easily affordable luxury, I must admit.

An year at a B-School might not give someone much edge in the ‘science’ of management, but it surely gives a ‘feel’ of it. A sneak-peek into de-la-corporata; a feeler of work, life and related imbalance; an aptitude to pay utmost regards to the four sacred whole numbers – 23:59; and an acumen to perceive what can go wrong – guess that sums up the last nine months at college. The coming two months of summers at Hyderabad are going to be the first-hand trailers of the corporate oven.


The city has welcomed me with open arms ever since that wet morning in the early July of 2006 when I had first disembarked at the Kalasipalyam bus stop. I miss IBM, and work as well, the sole reason probably being the life at Bangalore. The city has never been too harsh – it provided me with ample opportunities of drenching in the rain, driving out in the night, and lazing around facing the winds in the office food-court after lunch. The mini-ISM Dhanbad at BTM Layout has lost very little of its sheen with a few defectants moving out. It still gives the luxuries of sitting in circles, talking the same language, drinking the same way, smoking the same brands, eating the same food, playing the same card-game – reliving the same times.

Experience this time was a feel-good as usual. Relieving the stress of exams in the past week was easy with just the smell of city air – was fed up with the purity of oxygen in my nostrils while living on the hills and needed a break. Home and food were relishing after mess and NC and spending time in cooking was awesome. Met a friend after quite a few months. Witnessing a cheerful face of the one who has seen almost all vagaries of life has been inspirational – guess her smile would keep me out of my fits of cribbing about life for quite some time. Missed getting back to those whose office addresses shifted to the northern and eastern ends of Bangalore, or to other cities altogether.


Travel back home this time was memorable than ever. Was lucky to get a 09:15 Jet Airways flight to Calcutta at a cheap price. Thankfully the airport hasn’t yet shifted to that no-man’s land 40Km away from Bangalore, and catching a morning flight after a ‘high’ night is still peaceful.

Apprehensions of missing the 14:10 train from Howrah due to the 30 minutes delay in departure from Bangalore were swept aside in a corner with the flying experience. The poignancy was accentuated because probably for the first time I didn’t fell asleep flying, and because the skies were crystal clear all the way from the source to the destination and one could actually ‘see’ the earth even at the flying altitude of around 10 Kms. The child in me always gets back during ascent, the houses becoming smaller and granularity gradually fading away. Witnessing a whole, a continuum, an equal world, a uniform patch where ‘humans’ live; provides probably the best semblance of equanimity.

Calcutta bound flights from Bangalore ‘break-off’ from land twice to fly above the sea, once somewhere along the Eastern Ghats in Tamilnadu or Andhra Pradesh to fly over the Bay of Bengal, and once again after crossing the Delta in West Bengal. The first break-point is wrapped in simplicity – the nature probably shying away innocently from showing off its might to the unaware soul wandering 10,000 mts above. A uniform patch of viridian green, a yellow-ochre streak of sand just a few centimeters in width, then an almost non-existent faint white probably suggesting that waves too exist there, followed with a plain, almost uniform expanse of cobalt blue. Looking from the window towards the front gives a glimpse of sky almost trying to establish the law of symmetry – matching itself in colour and form with the vast below. Nothing, not even the tiny Boeing 737 seems to disturb the tranquility of space.

The ‘re-entry’ zone of the aircraft offers a splendid view. The majestic area of the Ganges delta is magnificent for the uninitiated – while flying, one moves in the opposite direction of water flow, from the sea towards up north and the aircraft flies past through almost all colours of the spectrum. The visible land merges into the sea in an unidentifiable boundary – a burnt sienna amalgamation of land and water stretching across thousands of kilometers feebly demarcating the estuary. Followed by this black-brown span is the heavenly glimpse of numerous tributaries and distributaries of the Ganges forming strange shapes. Thousands of streams appear to be white, glittering snakes lazing in the sun fostered with each other at different places – an artist’s daydream with multitude of colours. A few minutes further, boundaries between the land and the water become clearer. Interspersed with black-brown patches of islands in different shapes (one almost looked like a giant pomphret fish and other like a dolphin) is the huge green-blue water mass, probably the Hooghly. The aircraft starts its descent by then and luckily, a few steamers (or ‘launches’ of Kolkata) might be visible as tiny dots followed by white streaks in the water.

There is yet another break-off point to the Bay of Bengal somewhere amongst this after which the descent to the visible land is more pronounced. Wet palm tree-tops extend a warm welcome to the humid Kolkata and one can almost see the moisture laden air of the city. Welcome to Netaji Subhash International Airport.


Irrespective of how much I detest the Bongs and associated ‘intricacies’, I have developed a somewhat penchant for the city Kolkata. The reason is probably my numerous transits in recent years through its antique streets and lanes and saranis every time I travel from the airport to the station. Kolkata offers the first smell of home – north India to be precise – it’s humid and somewhat stale air puts one back into the hot, populated India which ‘goes-on’. It’s strange how I feel more at home amongst the sweating crowd reeling under the hot sun rather than in a city full of air-conditioned cars.

Visual delights of the old-age Indian charm, buildings and shops with inscriptions saying they were built in that year (which is normally decades ago), people thronging all possible alleyways narrowed down with peddlers and hawkers, crowd with a mix of every possible income group in the budget announcement, from the worker carrying wheat bags on his back to the paunchy merchant chewing betel leaves outside his shop or office, trams still continuing sluggishly at a few places trying to find their way amidst the rogue taxi-wallahs edging their way past everyone with scant regard to those faint, almost grayed out colours at the signaling posts, people clutching the handle bars of the over-filled city buses, rickshaw-pullers perpetually ringing their small bells in desperate attempts to get the humans and animals away from their path, hand-rickshaw pullers still continuing in their plight with utmost tenacity trying to pull the triple-sized ladies with double-sized shopping bags, non-initiated-to-real-life teenage couples outside AC Markets and other areas probably whispering to each other that ‘life is beautiful’, hawkers selling everything from books prescribing home-treatment for all ailments, general knowledge and learn English to torches and belts and key rings having glowing LEDs – Kolkata offers the largest gamut of ‘Indian’ experience. It’s great to roam around the city observing life of all sorts trying to ‘live’ and the city moving on.

By the way, I didn’t miss my train from Howrah.


A very old television commercial of something started with an NRI girl returning home and exclaiming – “kuchh bhi to nahin badla” (nothing has changed). The same feeling comes back irrespective of the gap after which I visit Jamshedpur. The town continues the same, and so the people – local Hindi newspapers still continue with their decade old claim of the place becoming a ‘model town’ in the ‘near’ future, MPs and MLAs of different parties state the same thing year after year, people do not bother about what’s being said, written or done, but still continue with the faint hope that utopia for the town is just round the corner! Irregular constructions here and there have filled up the skyline of Jamshedpur but the cleanliness hasn’t been done away with completely as of yet. Stories at home about the entire locality pour in – that one’s husband went to Germany from Tata Steel, that one’s son has joined a hotel management course, that one’s brother was asking about your number to enquire about CAT, that relative’s daughter is getting married the next month there.

Food is great, visits to relatives’ places are too many, friends are too few but the relaxation is complete. Lazing around, surfing and waiting for my departure to Hyderabad. Signing off.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Nusrat Saahab

Revisited the maestro after a long gap with "Ye jo halka halka suroor hai". There's this strange thing about music and literature - whenever you re-visit them, there's always something new you'll notice; in effect, they never go old! This was the surprise today:

साक़ी की हर निगाह पे बलखा के पी गया
लहरों से खेलता हुआ लहरा के पी गया
रहमत-ए-तमाम मेरी हर ख़ता मुआफ़
मैं इन्तहाँ-ए-शौक़ से घबरा के पी गया

पीता बग़ैर इज़्न ये कब थी मेरी मज़ाल
दर पर्दा चश्म-ए-यार की शह पा के पी गया
समझाने वाले सब मुझे समझा के रह गए
लेकिन मैं एक-एक को समझा के पी गया

पास रहता है दूर रहता है, कोइ दिल में ज़ुरूर रहता है
जब से देखा है उनकी आँखों को, हल्का हल्का सुरूर रहता है
ऐसे रहते हैं वो मेरे दिल में, जैसे ज़ुल्मत में नूर रहता है
अब आदम का ये हाल हर वक़्त, मस्त रहता है चूर रहता है

ये जो हल्का हल्का सुरूर है...

Garnished the mood with "Hai kahaan ka iraadaa" and "Pilaao Saqi"; and topped everything up with "Wo hataa rahe hain parda". One nicely spent midnight, eh? :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Life is moving sinusoidal. And the amplitude is high. And the frequency too. Its not a great feeling to 'feel' too many different things in the same day, many a times within hours or minutes. Its been this hip-hop of moods for quite some time now, and I'm fed up of it. Whoever stole it, give back my calmness to me prick.

I'm overworking. Or might be busy for nothing. I've to study a lot, might be I'm just feeling that I've to, for the sake of it. Started swimming once again. Feels good - not as good as it used to be in Bangalore. Possibly because I was 'freer' then, at least mentally. Quizzes keep on cropping up here and there; they stopped mattering long ago, still keep on nagging me. Term papers and projects are due, well I'd learnt long back the technique of 'sticking to the deadline' - the pester at the back of mind however prevails. No one called up since many days, personal 'network' problems I guess. As a timepass, fortunes and unfortunes of the senior batch guys in the placement season keeps on coming up from here and there. Small small troubles forced me to take a few tablets and capsules too over the last week, aggravating the perpetual dizziness I've been slumbered into since the beginning of this term. No time to continue Doctor Zhivago from where I'd left it a month ago when I was traveling - I've almost forgotten the story and would have to re-read, if Hyderabad summers provide me some semblance of peace. Newspapers are a bore, would change the subscription to something else, just for a change; getting time to open that business magazine only in the class, yeah there are too many of classes as well. And finally, cribbing for no time perpetually. That friend is correct - Life is random, so am I.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

कब आओगे तुम

Having problems viewing the text below? Click here for help.

आसमाँ का नीला रँग उतर सा चुका है
हर वो बादल गरजकर थक सा चुका है
रातों की चाँदनी स्याह हो चुकी है
ठण्डी हृदय की हर आह हो चुकी है

रँगों का वो भेदभाव नष्ट सा हुआ है
अवसादित श्याम रँग स्पष्ट सा हुआ है
चीत्कारता हृदय अब परास्त सा हुआ है
कब आओगे तुम, जीवन निरास्त सा हुआ है

तुम्हारा संदेश पढ़ने को आँखें पथरा चुकी हैं
एक स्पर्श भर को उँगलियाँ थर्रा चुकी हैं
सूखे होठों पर विरह बरस सी रही है
गले लगाने को बाँहें तरस सी रही हैं

हर वो छोटी बात बताने को व्याकुल सा मन है
तुम बिन हर सफ़लता इक निरर्थक सा क्षण है
अनायास ही ध्वनि तुम्हारी सुनी हो, लगता हरदम है
कब आओगे तुम, अब तो मृतप्राय संयम है

तुम भी कदाचित होगी थोड़ी तो व्यथित
नहीं, ये सिर्फ़ हृदय के विचार नहीं कल्पित
याद है मुझे, थोड़ा सा प्रेम तो तुमने भी किया है
प्रतीत न करवाओ ये सिर्फ़ मेरी मृगतृष्णा है

शायद आजीवन तुमसे फिर मुलाकात न हो
अमूर्त से मेरे प्रेम पर भले तुम्हारा हाथ न हो
सच कहूँ, मैं सजीव नहीं जब तुम साथ न हो
कब आओगे तुम, तब तक कहीं सब समाप्त न हो

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Mahé is the only west-coast district of Pondicherry which is a Union Territory consisting of four small unconnected districts. The other three, Pondicherry and Karaikal (both enclaves of Tamil Nadu) and Yanam (an enclave of Andhra Pradesh) are on the eastern coast of India.

Our 75 Km journey to this 9 Km square small picturesque town started around afternoon. With plans of witnessing a sunset over the sea, we comfortably reached Mahé by the evening. The town is small and quiet and possibly the vicinity of Kerala seems to have encroached its French colonial outlook. I was expecting a stark difference from the rest of Kerala, somewhat like Pondicherry which stands out from Tamil Nadu. Mahé isn't much different from a regular coastal town in Kerala apart from a few architectural citings and churches spawned throughout the city, which, probably, compensated towards my discontentment.

We saw the famous St. Theresa's Church from outside and decided to enter that while our return journey, though that never materialized. Our next stop was the Thalassery Fort. Around 7 Kms from Mahé, this small fort is around 300 years old. It is said to be a formidable strong hold in the past and is currently a national heritage monument.

We had plans to visit the 400 years old Ramswamy Temple at Thiruvangad and the Overburys Folly in Thalassery town, but in our excitement for the sunset, we decided to head straight to the Muzhappilangad Beach instead. Muzhappilangad is 14kms from Mahé and is Kerala's only drive-in beach. The fun of sitting in the car and driving along the waves on the sand was an experience which promptly led me to the resolution of revisiting the place within a few weeks with my bike.

Black rocks protect the beach from sea currents making it largely shallow with extremely calm waves. The best beach I've ever been to, one could venture inside the water to as much as 50 to 100 mt without the water-level rising above the belly. The beach is said to be a swimmer's paradise and I'm grateful to my Goan friend who taught me the best swimming position I've ever learnt - lying lazily on the back, gazing at the sky and letting yourself float without efforts.

It was an experience of a lifetime, giving yourself to the majestic seas, without efforts, without filthy fights - those desperate hands and legs movements to prove yourself superior to the infinitum. A peaceful surrender - complete obedience to the vast. And then comes the beautiful part. Sleep on the waves, gaze at the other blue infinitum above, while the waters would caress you, let you play on them like a cradle, slowly and slowly drifting you to drop you at the shore! It's the vibrancy of life I felt. Let yourself flow with the waves of the uncertain future without as much as caring about drowning in them, and you lead the best existence on earth.